A Brief Introduction to the Satan

A Brief Introduction to the Satan January 4, 2018
Courtesy of Pixabay
Courtesy of Pixabay

The satan literally means “the accuser.” Considering Jesus labelled the satan a liar and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44), one could expand on this a bit and describe the satan as a slanderer. Other definitions include, but are probably not limited to, “the adversary,” “the tempter,” “the executioner,” and even “God’s prosecuting attorney.” Nevertheless, it is primarily a role or a function rather than a name or a person.

I know, I know, that’s not what most of us have been taught. Indeed, we’ve no doubt heard that the satan more closely resembles a person rather than an overarching principle or something to that effect. (Using technical language, one could say he has his own ontology.) We read in the book of Job how the satan works as a field agent for the Lord. In fact, as Job 1:6 tells us, he is among the “heavenly beings;” his role being to walk around the earth and find people to levy accusations against.

So, it’s obvious, the satan is a “person,” right? And he works for God, right?

Well, hold on now. We don’t have to be so literal. Some of this, I believe, is mythology and allegory. For instance, since we find cases where God himself is seen walking on the earth—as if God the Father is a person with actual legs—do we then capriciously make sweeping ontological claims that God is a literal bipedal being? Probably not. Moreover, there is also a whole history and development of thought that goes before Job and plays into this conversation about evil and its origins, which makes this whole discussion not so cut and dried.

Let’s consider this now.

Essentially, thinking of a particular being who is the embodiment of evil began around 800 BCE, not with the ancient Hebrew people, but with this Persian dude named Zarathustra (his ideas lead to what is known as Zoroastrianism). In this tradition, two gods, nearly equal in power, are opposed against one another: the good spirit Spenta Mainyu and his twin brother Ahriman. After Israel’s exile in sixth-century BCE, some of the Jewish people picked up some of the teachings of this tradition; one of them being the idea that there indeed was a being of pure evil. In this portion of the Hebrew tradition that Christianity later picked up on, however, the Zoroastrian doctrine gets a twist: the bad god is not really a god, but a fallen angel.

We’ve all heard how this tale goes:

Satan starts off as a lovely angel. In fact, he’s God’s right-hand man. But then, as these things are wont to do, he not only rebels against God, but convinces a bunch of other angels to join him in the uprising. Because of this, all of them are consigned to eternal torment. However, one of the angels strikes a deal with God, allowing one-third of them to stay on Earth for a time in order to corrupt humanity. In the end though, all the rebellious angels, Satan included, will be cast into hell to be burned for all eternity.

What is interesting is that this story isn’t even a “biblical” one (unless you are Ethiopian Orthodox). You see, it comes from the book of Enoch, most specifically what is known as the book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 6–36). And yet, most of the Christianity I have experienced believes that the origins of evil come directly from this noncanonical tale. This is perplexing, so I would like to now offer an alternative to the “common” fallen angel myth, one that is more anthropological than theological. To do this, we’ll begin by turning back to the book of Job.

The Satan as Human Community

Notice that after the first two chapters of Job, the mythological character named “Satan” vanishes. This is important because it means that for the next thirty-five chapters of the book, the principle of accusation will rest on the shoulders of humanity.

Here’s how it all goes down.

After a host of terrible events befall the chief character, the community, intentions no doubt good, goes to work, clamoring on and on about how Job’s illnesses and misfortunes are self-inflicted. Eliphaz warns that “those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:7–8); Bildad reminds Job God will not “take the hand of evildoers” (Job 8:20); while Zophar implies that everything is Job’s fault when he tells Job to “not let wickedness reside in your tents” (Job 11:14–15). Then, as the poems progress, the satanic momentum builds, and some even go so far as to create blatant falsities in order to condemn Job: that he takes clothing from the naked, that he has withheld water from the thirsty and bread from the hungry, and that he has turned away widows and crushed the arms of orphans (Job 22:6–7, 9).

The wicked truth about human community is that, even if our intentions start out as pure, we just can’t help but devour our own. The book of Job testifies to this, even if it includes a bit of mythology in its prologue and epilogue. It testifies to the fact that when a community—indeed even so-called friends—turns against one of their own, they collectively become something more than the sum of their parts. In Job’s story, each accuser is making individual charges, but the truth is that they are all a part of a larger whole that is being guided by what the writer, working within a particular historical context, can only call “Satan.” In other words, as all the accusers come together as one, over against the “other,” a mimetic monster is created, one that cannot help but demonize and devour Job, it’s wretched scapegoat.

The Satan as Twisted Desire

This human-centric understanding of evil is not only seen in Job 3–37, but also in the second creation story from the book of Genesis. Like the book of Job, there are mythological elements, one of which comes in the form of a talking serpent. This serpent, however, is obviously allegorical (snakes don’t talk, do they?).

Here’s my take on it.

As I’ve discussed before, human beings are imitative creatures. Our desires, rather than being instinctually fixed on predetermined objects, are picked up from the desires of others. There is beauty in this, but also great risk. When we desire what the other desires, we tend to get into rivalries for our shared objects of desire. Hence, as we go along in our lives, it becomes painfully obvious that certain prohibitions must be placed in order to quell the violence that will inevitably arise. The prohibition of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is a perfect example of this. In our quest to be just like God, to know all that is good and evil, we end up cannibalizing each other. And so, having this knowledge must be prohibited in order for us to have a chance to live in peace.

The problem, then, is that when something is prohibited, our desire for it grows ever stronger. One could say that prohibitions twist our desire, that they corrupt it. This is what the crafty serpent represents. Notice the corruption in the very first question asked of Eve: “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Gen 3:1) As we know, that is not what God said. There is only one prohibited tree, not many. This is a trap. Sure, Eve initially corrects the serpent, but she then imitates it by making up her own lie. It’s subtle, but it’s there, plain as day. She answers: “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die” (Gen 3:3, emphasis mine). So, what began with one prohibition has now been twisted into two.

Initially, however, nothing happens to Eve. It is only after the man—who was there with her the whole time—eats of the fruit that both of their eyes are opened. This suggests that all three of the characters—the serpent, Eve, and Adam—are connected in a certain way. Michael Hardin points out that: “All of this literarily suggests that the man, the woman and the serpent are one big figure of the process of mediated desire and its consequences.” What are these consequences? Initially, accusations and scapegoating: the man blames both God and the woman (Gen 3:12), then the woman follows by turning it back onto the serpent (Gen 3:13).

The story goes on, and more consequences follow. What begins with a lie in chapter 3 quickly turns into a murder in chapter 4. In his grasping for God’s blessing, Cain kills Abel. Brother rises up against brother. Then, Cain founds a city; civilization built upon blood. From there, violence escalates until the whole world is corrupt and full of wickedness.

Consider that this is what is what is meant when Jesus calls the satan a “liar and a murderer from the beginning.” Satan is not some fallen angel who at one point was God’s consigliere. Satan is and always has been pure evil. The scary part, however, is that the satan is a part of us. That is to say, the satan has its ontology in humanity. We are the ones who engage in lies (Gen 3). We are the ones who found our cultures and civilizations on murder (Gen 4). We are the ones who accuse and scapegoat others when their lives end up in ruin (the poems from Job). And we are the ones who have been doing this ever since. It seems that this is what Jesus is getting at in Luke 11:49–51:

You are witnesses and approve the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,” so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation.

In Closing

What I want to emphasize is that while the satan is human, it is always more than about each individual. As I’ve said, it is more than the sum of its parts. It is a power and a force that seems to take on a life of its own, any time a group comes together in condemnation of an “other.” Paul’s phrase “the Powers and Principalities” seems like an apt way of describing it. Indeed, it is a Power and Principality, and it is very real. And, as my friend Brad Jersak points out in the Beyond the Box Podcast, it is much worse than we tend to think.

Yet, regardless if one finds my ontology of satan convincing or not, what we all should agree on is that the satan is a power that has been defeated by Christ. That’s the promise of the New Testament. Does the satanic mechanism of accusing, scapegoating, and blaming continue? Of course. We live between the now and the not yet. This age hasn’t passed on to the next; but it will, because we know at the end of all things, God will be all in all (1 Cor 15:28). In the meantime, whether we believe the satan is a dark lord with his own ontology, or whether we believe the satan is an allegory for a dark power or principle, we who live in the Spirit live a life void of accusations. We live a life oriented toward Love and Justice, and do our damnedest to bring more of both into a world so torn up by the satan.

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  • Paul

    I like the way you’ve explained this. Having read Walter Wink’s book – “Engaging the Powers” – it’s easy to compare the satan in the world to the domination system that is in place – power and control continue to justify redemptive violence as a way to peace, which has never worked. Increasingly larger groups people develop a mindset and the individual is sucked into that mindset. Yet after reading Eckart Tolle’s, “A New Earth”, I also believe we all have our own the satan – it’s the ego. The ego’s desire is to be somebody, not to be nobody, as well as to consider itself better than others (which separates us from others). This governs the ways we act and feel. When your thoughts say, “That hurt my feelings,” that’s the ego speaking. Maybe it starts at the individual level and works its way to higher levels to the point where some communities need to feel better than others, cities need to feel better than others, nations need to feel like they are better than others, etc. Each level has its own ego, thinking it has to prove its own self as valuable or worthy.

  • An interesting take on the Genesis story, but you leave it incomplete. There are two ‘forbidden’ trees in this story, each of which has ‘fruit’ that allow the ‘eater’ to partake in the Divine nature. The one you focus on, that of knowledge of good and evil (i.e., moral sensibility) we humans obtained. The second, however, the Tree of Life, which frees the eater from death, we did not obtain. In fact, having obtained the first, the God(s) became even more determined to forbid the humans even access to the Tree of Life (immortality),”The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (G 3:22 NIV) So what we are left with is a picture of the human being as one who shares in the Divine nature in terms of moral sensibility, but is denied participation in the Divine in that the human being remains mortal and must die. But, having gained the level of cognitive development necessary for moral sensitivity – what E. Fuller Torrey in his recent excellent book “Emerging Brains, Emerging Gods” (Columbia UP, 2017) characterizes as the uniquely human trait of ‘autobiographical memory,’ or what we might call simply ‘an ongoing narrative Symbolic Self,’ – this morally awaked human being, this Homo sapiens sapiens, now KNOWS he will die, and, furthermore, knows that he knows he will die, and knows that he knows that he knows… In short, we are graciously invited to partake of the Divine in terms of the MORAL character of God. But, as you well note, we desire much more strongly exactly that which we are forbidden, in this case, immortality. Thus, while it is undoubtedly true that we engage in all kinds of compensatory behaviors to deal with our contradictory nature – Mortal Gods, if you will – of which scapegoating is but one among many, there is a level deeper than mere mimetic desire, to wit, that which Ernest Becker called the ‘denial of death.’ Mimetic scapegoating is a case in point of the need to deny death, to live beyond limits, to pretend that we are constrained by nothing (if only we got rid of THAT ONE!!!) The challenge of Progressive Christianity (and progressive religion in general) is to help us learn to live life most fully (to partake in the Divine moral nature) through God-like self-extension in concern for the welfare of Others (even the enemy, for God’s sake!) while accepting as a positive good the fact that we are limited, mortal beings prone to self inflation and self aggrandizement that, if left unchecked, lead us directly in to behaviors that negate the Divine morality in which we are invited to share.

  • abinico

    Of course satan works for God. That’s because God is all mighty and powerful.

  • And yet absolutely central to Christian ideology is that we see this almighty and all powerful God most clearly on this earth in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified. My sense if that in your bald statement about omnipotence you are missing some very intended nuances.

  • billwald

    Satan was evil from the beginning of what? From God’s creation of Satan? What does that tell us about God?

  • Ejaz Naqvi

    Why do we have to paint (evil) Satan’s picture with “blackness”? Dark eyes, black beard, black hair? Good (e.g. Jesus) is blonde and with blue eyes… at least in most of the pictures I have seen.

  • james warren

    There is no Satan. There is only evil. And both evil AND the good run down the middle of every human heart.

    Humans tend to want a scapegoat they can blame for their own moral shortcomings.

  • David Miller

    It tells a lot from us as a society that we elected an Orange Abomination as president & “leaders” that would be tasked with curbing his abominations but refuse to. And almost elected a pedophile to the US Senate.

  • Libby K

    Overweigh pssy

  • Ed Senter

    Why do you think we were invited to share the Divine morality if God forbade the eating of that tree? It was Satan who suggested that God was keeping something from them, that is, “trust me and don’t trust God.”

  • You are being a bit too literal with what is an ancient mythological story. But playing that game, we could say that for some 6 million years, God(s) was satisfied with life forms (about 2 million of that hominid life forms) from whom a sharing in the moral life of God(s) was forbidden. But, feeling lonely, God(s) created the conditions in which one of those hominid species theoretically could share in the moral nature of God(s), though even then not encouraged to do so, except in a state of blind obedience. But by the end of the story, we have a species who MAY engage in voluntary obedience, and therefore in that sense invited to do so, but from whom immortality has been not just forbidden but absolutely and finally closed off to them. Thus they become a species who is divine in their mental status but fully mortal (same as other animal species) in the inevitability of death they face. The irony of the situation is that in response, they constantly abjure participation in the divine nature in that area in which they are constitutionally able (invited) to do so, exactly BECAUSE they are so focused on obtaining what they can’t have (immortality – which they mistakenly interpret as divine power) which leads them further and further away from divine morality.

  • Ed Senter

    Let’s say it was a myth. What you are doing is adding way to much too that myth that simply isn’t there explicitly nor implicitly.
    Perhaps too much is inferred in the meaning of the name of the tree, “good and evil”. Just what is morality and why would man need it? There was just man, woman, and God, then the serpent. Why was the only rule “don’t eat from that tree”?
    You say God was lonely? Does love cure that loneliness? Without freedom, that is, choice, there is no love. I suggest that tree represented God’s authority. God gave man freedom, but reserved the right to limit that freedom. After all, God created them and He also sustained them. Immortality was already theirs as long as they didn’t usurped God’s one rule.

  • Reading much more into myth than is actually stated there is the way myth is always interpreted. In a very real way, the very thing that makes it myth in the first place is that it clearly invites one to do so. Morality, moral sensibility, is the most important aspect of human nature, because it underlines that our choices in how we behave have genuine meaning, and are not simply more or less automatonic, mechanical and instinctual reactions to external stimuli. It is what we mean by human freedom – that we could have done otherwise but chose to do this or that instead. My cute little dog who mostly cuddles and licks my hand violently tears a squirrel apart if she catches one. I don’t like this, but I don’t ‘judge’ her as violently evil because I know that for the most part she has only a very limited scope of choice in the matter. If I am right there telling her “No!” she will restrain herself (barely). But otherwise, she simply responds according to her nature to the external stimulus of a catchable squirrel in front of her. That is the difference between a species with moral sensibility and one that has no moral sensibility. It isn’t intended to make us more ‘happy,’ but rather more accountable. It is my understanding that God(s) is lonely, that is what the myth says about God(s) motivation to create a species with moral sensibility. Read it. I wouldn’t argue with your interpretation of the myth – the very nature of the myth is that there is no right and wrong interpretation, only more and less interesting ones and more and less comprehensive ones. Obviously in my view my interpretation is more interesting (brings current material from social sciences and evolutionary developmental studies into the interpretation) and more comprehensive (notices, for example, that there are two trees in the myth rather than only one.) But I don’t expect everyone will automatonically agree with me.

  • Ed Senter

    Yes, moral sensibility is the most important aspect of HUMAN NATURE. But what does morality have to do with the divine? As Jesus said, “Only God is good.” This insane focus on morality is the very reason I rejected organized religion a long time ago. Human to human morality is important in that it forces us to judge one another. That is exactly what Jesus said not to do.
    Adam and Eve could eat of any tree in the garden save the one called “good and evil’. That means they implicitly had access to the tree called “life” before they ate the forbidden fruit.
    An atheist can be just as moral as a theist. The difference in the two is a sense of immortality.

  • ChevalBlanc

    Blonde Jesus is highly unlikely. Jesus was most likely dark-haired & dark-eyed per DNA samples of people living in that region at the time. You probably already know that, though.

    Europeans make Jesus look like them for the same reason Buddha looks East Asian in East Asian art.

  • Ed, I want to be as respectful and encouraging with you as I can, but this last reply has me wondering how much you have genuinely studied Christian theology. It is the very essence of Christian theology (as well as Jewish theology from hence it came, and Islamic theology also, for that matter) that God has a very discernible moral nature. We humans know what is good and right not simply because “God said so!” but rather because the good and right are congruent with God’s own moral nature. Furthermore, we are indeed invited to partake in the divine nature of God exactly by engaging in action that conforms to God’s moral nature (“Be therefore just and right, even as your Father in Heaven is just and right”). God has a clear moral character, inclined toward paramount concern for the poor and oppressed – now go though and do likewise!

  • Ed Senter

    That is exactly my contention. Most theologians have been barking up the wrong tree ever since the garden. They have fallen for the lie of Satan that all it takes to be like God is to know good and evil.
    I contend that morality is a human construct. It is what man should do. God can take care of the poor and oppressed. He certainly can shower down manna and strike dead the oppressors.
    What man needs to learn is respect for God and who He is. That is the lesson of the garden.
    btw, the essence of Christianity is God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. That is the antithesis of Jewish and Islamic theology.

  • Sorry Ed, I just disagree with that approach to theology.

  • I agree, I think. While there is no “Satan,” (that is, an ontological being named “Satan,”) I think it is fair to call the evil that happens when, for example, a mob slays an innocent victim, “the satan.”

  • Ed, if God can “shower down manna and strike dead the oppressors,” just like Deuteronomy 28 says he can, then we will, in my opinion, come to a place where everything becomes meaningless. Why? Because everything that we call “good,” or “righteous,” or even “evil” can be the exact opposite to what God calls “good” or “righteous” or “evil” and we will have no way of knowing what is what. For example, if killing babies is “good” when God does it or commands it (as long as they are Canaanites, amiright?), how can we call it “evil” when we do it? If we are made in God’s image, shouldn’t we behave like God?

  • Ed Senter

    I find it interesting that your interpretation of the “myth” has man STEALING the Divine moral nature, that is, man partook of that which was forbidden.

  • Ed Senter

    How do we know how to “behave like God”? Steal the knowledge from the tree? That wasn’t God’s will.
    I think Divine morality is meaningless. What is meaningful is understanding that good is God, and evil is not God. Satan is a created being who made the wrong choices and we do not have the whole story in regards to his relationship to God. We do know that Satan and his followers are destined to the lake of fire and sulfur to be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

  • What do you make of that?

  • Luke Jones

    Satan is certainly a personality that manifests in mankind’s behavior, but I think he is as real as the Holy Spirit who also manifests in mankind’s behavior. He certainly is not equal to the Holy Spirit as in Zoroastrianism, but a consequence of the fall is that he would take on a pervasive spiritual presence (prince of the kingdom of air) through “malware” present in every human. So, he is not pervasive because he is all-present, but only because he is present in virtually every human, through the fall (which is a weird way of affirming total depravity). What makes it impossible that Satan had a soma at one point? You dismiss Enoch as non-canonical, but then dismiss the canon as obvious myth! If you dismiss Adam as a myth, you dismiss the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Luke as a myth. Then where are we? I’m no proponent of inerrancy of scripture, but I do ascribe to its magnificence, which is partly based on its truth.

  • Ed Senter

    According to you, man committed an immoral act to gain moral awareness. Sounds more like something from polytheistic Greek mythology than Christianity.

  • Again, you are stuck in an unwarranted mode of pressing mythological narrative for details, which makes it very difficult to know what to say to you. But giving it a try, any developmental psychologist will tell you that we learn mainly by coming up against contradictions and blockages in our normal expectations. Thus, the idea of learning to tell wrong from right by doing wrong is not only fully sensible but fully in keeping with what we know about learning processes.

  • Ed Senter

    But the narrative is all we have.
    1. A parent tells the child not to touch the stove; it is hot. The child touches anyway and is burned; the parent says, “I told you so.”
    2. A parent puts a cookie on the counter and tells the child, “don’t eat that.” The parent leaves the room and the child eats the cookie. The parent returns and gives the child a 10 minute time out.
    3. A parent puts a cookie on the counter and tells the 6 year old child, “don’t eat that- you will die.” The parent leaves the room and the child eats the cookie. The parent returns and kicks the child out of the house and tells him, “you are on your own.”

    Clearly, something much deeper is going on in the narrative than “developmental psychology”.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Do you Christians (I ask honestly as a non-believer) ever think that your religion may get to the point of seeing Satan more as a metaphor/literary device rather than an active being in existence?

    I can see using Satan as a symbol of the worst examples of human corruption or behavior. But I have zero evidence such a being really exists (much in the same way as minotaurs, pixies, etc probably do not exist).

  • TheMountainHumanist

    worked for The Church Lady 🙂

  • TheMountainHumanist

    I often think maybe Satan is a metaphorical archetype for our lizard brain….the first layer of brain we formed. The fight or flight…do what you must to conquer brain.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Seems to me an all powerful being would not need employees.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    or one could argue Satan in that story was saying..”trust your own judgement.” ????

  • Ed Senter

    -which is not consistent with the rest of the book.

  • abinico

    All powerful being does need employees – has to do with self realization; go research the issue – what you’ll learn will do you good.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    No…it won;t be necessary to “research” anything based on my facetious statement. Now, I did do some research (including time at seminary) and it did me some good..led me away from dogma and toward rational skepticism. Cheers!

  • TheMountainHumanist

    Indeed the Bible (as is true with most ancient religion books that evolved over centuries….has many such contradictions and inconsistencies.

  • Ed Senter

    No, no, no…The only “judgment” to be made was whether or not they were going to trust God. The forbidden fruit stood for God’s authority. They chose to disrespect God. Hence, they were on their own.
    What is the contradiction is your interpretation.

  • rtgmath

    Satan was not present in the Garden of Eden. The tempter was a serpent, a snake, a beast of the field whose punishment was to “eat dirt.” The creation stories have no need for and no use for angels or demons — they don’t belong in the narrative. God had seen everything that he had made, serpent and all, and declared them to be very good.

    I believe the Devil is much more metaphorical than real. But not even the Jewish creation stories had satan in the garden. And we do not recreate the meaning based upon a few cryptic words from Jesus nor the end of the book of Revelation. We read the meaning by what the Scriptures say in their own context, in their own time frame, accounting to whom they were written.

  • Steve Smith

    I suppose you will have eternity to discover…

  • rtgmath

    Is that all you have? Threats? Figures. You can’t deal with the Scriptural narrative as it is, so you have to try to bully others with theological bullshit while ignoring was the Scriptures actually say. Fundamentalism at its usual.

  • Tim

    Just from the beginning. The satan doesn’t appear until people do. God did not create the accuser, we did.

  • Tim

    I’m not sure, but that’s very similar to how I view it now.

  • Tim

    Conversations like this are why I blocked Ed quite awhile ago.

  • Tim

    I think even the serpent/snake and its punishment was figurative. The Hebrew word for snake or serpent there is “to hiss or whisper”. It’s clearly meant to be the same “spirit” of accusation, though, that acquires the name “the satan” later on.

  • You seem to think the learning comes from the punishment. That is not at all what close studies of learning patterns reveal. If my child completely obeyed whatever I told her to do just because I told her, never questioned it or tested the limits (you only know the limits by transgressing the line between) I would be very worried.

  • To do likewise I would also have to block the voice in my own mind that echoes much of the preaching I was brought up on.

  • How can we be so shocked and incensed that Putin’s folks messed in our elections when we literally wrote the book on how to mess with other people’s elections? How can we be so upset that Kim Jong Il seems to think that nuclear weapons are what give a nation legitimacy on the world stage when we are the very ones who have modeled that to the world for 75 years? These are all echoes of the same theme, with us trying to play the role of God.

  • Tim

    I’ve done that as well.

  • Fang

    Elderly
    gray
    fat
    fggt

  • Ed Senter

    Not at all…Adam and Eve were banished from the garden not as punishment, but as separation from God- the source and sustenance of all life.
    Like I said, something much deeper is going on here.
    Adam and Eve weren’t there to learn about God or morality. First, they had to respect and trust God for who He is. They failed that first test.

    Besides, even in every parent-child relationship, the first lesson is “because I said so”. Stretching the limits comes much later. Satan stretched the limits and we all know where that got him. That is not a myth or metaphor.